Hamilton students learn about President’s Day

ANZA – VFW’s Women’s Auxiliary Pres. Reba Schultz recently shared some interesting information with the high schoolers. The following is what she had to say:

“Good Morning Hamilton Bobcats! My name is Reba Schulz, and I’m President of the Ladies Auxiliary for the VFW Post 1873 in Anza. Before I start with the information about our VFW, I want all of you to know how important you are to our town and our nation. The older generation wants you to know how much we want you to be a success and to contribute to the growth of our great nation. You are very valuable as a person and as a friend, son, daughter, sister, brother. We are a family and each one plays a very important part of society.

“Today I would like to give you some facts about our organization plus some about two of our presidents, George Washington, our first president of the United States, and Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president of our nation.

“VFW stands for Veterans of Foreign War. The Spanish American War began in May of 1898 between Cuba and America. The Cuban people had been under tyranny for many years and revolted in 1895. The Americans felt inhuman treatment of the Cubans and bewailed the loss of $100 million in trade with the island. The Battleship Maine and 260 sailors and marines on board blew up under mysterious circumstances in Havana Harbor. Thus came the term, Remember the Maine. It took less than a year for the United States Army to defeat the Spanish troops in both Cuba and the Philippines. At the peace treaty of December 1898 in Paris, Spain ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States with the stipulation the treaty also allowed the U.S. to purchase the Philippines for $20 million. Cuba was independent of Spain and remained under U.S. military control for three years.

“When the American troops began returning home in the later part of 1898, they were proud of the service they had given their country. These men believed in their hearts that their nation would be grateful to them. But they were wrong. Thus, the stage was set for the appearance of a new kind of veteran’s organization. One whose purpose was that ingratitude would never rear its head.

“The VFW is a national association of men and women who as soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen served the Nation in wars, campaigns, and expeditions on foreign soil or in hostile waters, is a federally chartered corporation.

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, with its Auxiliaries, mission is to ‘honor the dead by helping the living’ through veterans’ service, community service, national security and a strong national defense. The Anza Valley VFW Post 1873 was officially chartered on Nov. 8, 1975. Their first meeting was held Sept. 7, 1975 in the back of the old Outpost Pizza Hut with 16 local veterans. The purpose of the VFW organization are fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable and educational and are:

• to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members

• to assist worthy comrades

• to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead, and to assist their widows and orphans

• to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States and fidelity to its Constitution and laws

• to foster true patriotism

• to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom

• to preserve and defend the United States from all enemies.

“The Ladies Auxiliary was officially formed on Jan. 17, 1976 and the Men’s Auxiliary was officially formed on Nov. 7, 2007.

“The VFW has an annual scholarship program we haven’t pursued enough here at Hamilton. For the middle school, 6th, 7th and 8th grades there’s an essay contest called Patriot’s Pen. The contest gives students the opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills, while they compete for awards and prizes. Department, (state) winners compete for $92,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds and at the national level with the first place winner receiving a $10,000.00 U.S. Savings Bond in Washington, D.C., in March each year.

“The theme for 2013-2014 is ‘Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.’ The entry form will be available April 2013 and the entry due Nov. 1, 2013. I’m hoping to have a large number of you to apply for this opportunity to add to your college fund.

“For the grades 9 through 12 there is a ‘Voice of Democracy’ scholarship competition that provides high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to write and record a broadcast script on a patriotic theme. This years subject is ‘What Patriotism Means to Me.’ Many notables have won this contest including: Charles Kuralt, Miss America Anita Bryant and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. There is also more than $2.1 million in college scholarships and incentives. State winners are brought to Washington, D.C. in March to enjoy our nation’s capitol and compete for 149,000 in scholarships.

“Our post 1873 is hoping for a good response for both the Patriots Pen and the Voice of Democracy from Hamilton this year and may the best one win, it could be you.

“George Washington was our first president and was born Feb. 22, 1732. He held two terms of president from April 30, 1789 to March 3, 1797. His vice president was John Adams and he was married to Martha Dandridge Custis.

“George’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, was a devout Christian who taught her son George the importance of prayer and reading of the scriptures by example in which she lived. George has written more than one hundred prayers. George was known to read the Bible to his troops and lead them in prayer when a chaplain wasn’t available. He was also known to have quoted scripture from the Biblical phrases having had an extensive knowledge of the scriptures that indicated a fact and strong evidence of his Christianity. He attended The Anglican Pohick Church, of which Washington was a member, which required a three hour journey into Virginia.

“The states that joined the union while he was in office were; Vermont in 1791, Kentucky in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796. There is some debate over the Revolutionary War as a true ‘revolution.’ However, without this struggle America might still be part of the British Empire.

“While in office the major events were:

• Elected to first term with a unanimous electoral vote (1789)

• First United States census (1790)

• District of Columbia established (1791)

• Bill of Rights ratified (1791)

• Proclamation o Neutrality (1793)

• Whiskey Rebelion (1794)

• Jay’s Treaty (1795)

• Pinckney’s Treaty (1796)

• Farwell Address (1796)

“After he retired he spent his last years at Mt. Vernon where he died. Mt. Vernon had started with 300 acres and at George’s death it had grown to 800 acres. He loved gardens.

“President Abraham Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809, and moved to Indiana in 1816 where he lived his youth. His mother died when he was nine but he was very close to his stepmother who urged him to read and most of the time it was the Bible. He was known to read by candle light and next to the fireplace anything he could get his hands on to read. Electric light wasn’t available until 1880. Both presidents upheld the Golden Rule found in the Bible, Matthew 7:12, and the ten commandments, Exodus 20:3 – 17, and that’s why they were admired persons.

“History is to me like looking up my family tree. Finding an old box of family pictures and seeing some of the greats that came before me. Who they were, what they did, where they lived. It’s an adventure and can be exciting. Pursue answers to your questions.

“When you see a military serviceman or woman, please, tell them thank you for your service because they are why we have the life we have today.”

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